Denelle Esmay is a senior at Grand Canyon University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education (Dual Major). She and a team of GCU students traveled to Honduras on a global outreach trip in May 2014 to help spread hope to people of Honduras. Check out the second part of her mission—and keep reading throughout the summer to get more of her firsthand experiences on this GCU global outreach trip!
Monday, May 12, 2014
Today was our first day teaching at the school! Amber and I taught English lessons to first and second grade classes, while Nicole, Gilliene and Diane held a couple of health lessons such as hand-washing and eating correctly. Llana and Tashina helped fill in for a sick teacher in a computer class. It was refreshing to teach in the schools because Amber and I are studying elementary and special education at Grand Canyon University.
We helped serve in the feeding kitchen, which served over 200 children. We were told that the teachers pick the poorest 200 out of 500-800 students who attend school daily in order to feed them. The remaining receive a snack called “arroz con leche” which consists of rice and milk provided by the teachers.
After a long first day of teaching greetings, colors, animals, etc. and after eating a nice lunch, the local girls at the children’s home, Nely and Chela, taught some of us how to wash clothes and do laundry. It was humbling to see how long it took, but how patient they were. The strange thing was that I felt like I was at home in Honduras, rather than on a two-week mission trip.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
We finished teaching second grade, then moved on to third grade. It was more difficult because the teachers took advantage of us being there to help in the classrooms; three out of the five classes that Amber and I taught were left without a teacher. However, the children seemed to be getting used to us being there and they warmed up to us immediately. One second grade boy, Frances, attached himself to my side immediately during each recess and was content sitting by my side and hugging me. It occurred to me that these children probably need a lot more attention than they receive, and it is a major blessing to be able to provide that even for a short time.
Then, after lunch and a siesta, half the group drove with Cristina, our Honduran host, to the women’s prison in the center of town. She held a Bible study with the beautiful women who were in prison for various unknown reasons. Going into the prison I was terrified, but as the doors were locked behind me and God led me to sit next to one of the women, my fear turned to peace. This was another Bible study that happened to occur in a prison. These women worshipped Jesus with beautiful songs of praise and prayer. It was difficult to see their living conditions, if you could call them that, but it was inspiring to see the Light in such dark places.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
We finished third grade and started fourth grade in the same manner as the two previous days. Again, the children responded very well to our teaching. This time, the teachers seemed to appreciate learning how to pronounce things in an American accent so most of them remained in their classrooms so they could learn as well.
After lunch, we received the rare opportunity to visit a Lenca village and watch how the women make the beautiful, brightly colored scarves and how they retrieve red beans from the bean pod plants. Our team felt very at ease spending the majority of our own money in the village purchasing these handmade scarves, baskets, table cloths, hair bows and many other creative souvenirs. It was nice to be able to minister to them and to spend a lot more money within the village than they would probably normally receive. As we left, our team felt comfortable knowing that these women who worked so hard daily for so little would be able to provide for their families for longer than usual.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Amber and I had the opportunity to train Llana and Tashina on how to teach English to the students. This was important because they would be teaching English with my group in Azulguapa and Dolores the next week.
While Amber and I taught the rest of fourth grade and part of fifth grade, Llana and Tashina taught the other half of fifth grade. Then, one teacher asked Amber and me to help him teach the pronunciations of some sentences in English and how to change sentences from positive to negative. It was refreshing to help the teacher the moment he needed it instead of coming into the classrooms with our own curriculum.
Then, after lunch, we roasted marshmallows to bring a little bit of the United States to girls at the children’s home. After we finished, it was the girls’ turn to show us a little bit of Honduran pleasure food. Nely and Chela taught our entire team the painstaking process of hand-making flour tortillas.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Our last day at Valero Meza school in La Esperanza was difficult because all the children with whom we had developed special bonds asked our team when we would return. The truth of “probably never” seemed like the wrong answer, so the only answer we could use was, “I don’t know.” However, it was still heartbreaking to leave all these precious little children.
Llana, Tashina, Amber and I taught English pronunciations of some animals and the colors to each sixth grade class in a similar manner as before. However, this time, we took it a step further by asking the students to form sentences in English describing the animals by color. Nicole, Gilliene and Diane taught sex education to the girls and Pastor Carlos taught sex education to the boys. All in all, our visit to the schools was very successful for the students and teachers and for my team.